Blog

Look down on your spouse (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

A really effective way to destroy a relationship is to think that you are better than your spouse. You get bonus points for conveying it to them through words and body language.

This kind of looking down or contempt in relationships has been found to be the number one predictor of divorce by Dr. John Gottman in his many decades of relationship research.

How can you show contempt for your spouse? There are so many ways, verbal and non-verbal to be truly mean and show disrespect and contempt for others:

Mocking
Using sarcasm
Name calling
Hostile humour
Mimicking
Sneering, eye-rolling,
Making light or belittling what matters to them
Invalidating their thoughts and feelings

Saying things like: who does that? Everyone knows that not the way it is done. What's wrong with you? Etc. etc. etc.

In whatever form, contempt is very destructive to a relationship because it conveys disgust. It's virtually impossible to resolve a problem or feel loving towards the other when your partner is getting the...

Continue Reading...

Refuse to discuss issues (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Another easy way to destroy a relationship is to shutdown or stonewall your spouse when they are trying to discuss an issue which is of importance to them.

Stonewalling can look slightly different in different people: being unresponsive, walking away, tuning out, ignoring, turning away, turning to technology, acting busy or saying "I will not talk about this".

When your spouse is making an effort to address a problem, whether attempting to talk about something that is upsetting them, explaining their feelings about an ongoing area of conflict, or trying to reach a resolution or a compromise, and you are pretending that they aren't there, they are likely to reach a level of upset or anger so high that unless this issue is addressed, it is almost guaranteed to destroy your relationship. Here is some research on the impact of stonewalling on relationships.

A word of compassion for you if you are the stonewaller: you are likely engaging in this behavior because you are going through an...

Continue Reading...

Be defensive (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

An easy way to ruin a perfectly good relationship is to NEVER EVER accept responsibility for anything. If your spouse makes a complaint, counter that with a counter attack or criticise them for bringing up the issue.

When we do this, it pretty much guarantees that our significant other will stop bringing up issues that bother them. The issues will fester and grow and impact other areas of our relationship.

For some of us, our defensiveness is truly unconscious. We immediately and impulsively refute or rebut whenever our spouses bring up actions and behaviours that are causing a problem in the relationship.

If we do not want to ruin our relationships, however, we do need to pause when we feel the urge to be defensive. Pausing allows us to reflect on what our spouse is truly saying and asking of us. What part of it can we take responsibility for? What can we acknowledge and commit to changing?

Continue Reading...

Be critical (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Complaining is great for relationships but criticism is very destructive.

What's the difference?

When you are complaining, you are focused on an issue which is bothering you and you are giving your spouse information on what bothers you, why it bothers you and how to make it better.

This is what a complaint sounds like:
"When you leave your socks on the floor after you change your clothes, it frustrates me since I like to have the floor free of clutter. Please put them in the laundry basket instead."

A complaint involves taking ownership of the way the issue makes you feel and it invites the other to support you through a clear request of change in behaviour.

Criticism on the other hand, involves attacking the other person's character or personality. It does not give information for change and causes defensiveness in the other person.

"You always leave your socks on the floor. How selfish can you be? You don't care that I spent so much time clearing up. Why can't you pick up after...

Continue Reading...

How to ruin a perfectly good relationship

Over the years in my practice as a marriage and family therapist, I have witnessed the many ways people hurt those that they love most and damage the relationships that matter most.

Of course, no one starts out wanting to destroy a perfectly good relationship. The damage to relationships often starts with small hurts that we feel. Instead of talking about the hurt and dealing with it, we may keep quiet thinking that it is not worth fighting over.

When not dealt with, these tiny resentments built up over time, create emotional distance and begin to show up in our behaviour in little ways. It is these little ways that we fail to be there for each other or hurt each other that add up over time and erode the love that is there.

Other ways that we ruin relationships is by not being aware of actions and behaviours that create discord and destroy love.

This month we will focus on how NOT to ruin a perfectly good relationship by exploring all the ways that we CAN ruin a relationship.

We...

Continue Reading...

Be on the winning team

In Sura Saff (61:14), it says: O you who believe, be the helpers of Allah

The fact is that Allah's Will will be done and His plan will come to fruition. Allah does not require our help. An invitation to be part of His plan and to be a helper is a privilege that He grants to those who wish to be part of the synchronistic forces of the universe that are fulfilling His plan.

To be a helper of Allah means to be worthy of working on behalf of Allah in this world.

This verse is an invitation for all believers to join this group – to become part of a winning team and to further His cause. The cause of Allah is the cause of social justice on this earth: to resist ignorance and injustice and to be a force for good.

Thankfully there are so many ways to do this and we can participate according to the talent and the time that is granted to us.

We can help His cause within our own circle of influence with friends, family and social contacts. We can use our tongue, our pens, our computers,...

Continue Reading...

Count your blessings

In Sura Ibrahim (14:34) the Quran says: If you count the favors of Allah you will not be able to number them

As human beings we have the tendency to take our good fortune for granted and pay attention when things get tough. Going through tough times and challenges often results in us having tunnel vision: our focus narrows only to what is NOT going our way and we fail to notice things that are working as they should or are in fact working for our benefit. It is useful to remember that no matter how bad things may seem at a given time, as long as we are breathing there is more right with our lives than wrong, although the wrong may be capturing our attention to a greater extent.

This verse reminds us that while what is going wrong can often be counted on the fingers of one hand, the Blessings and gifts of Allah cannot be enumerated even if we tried.

Scholars explain that the reason we cannot count His favours is because:

– The blessings are so all-pervasive that it is difficult...

Continue Reading...

Walk with humility

In Sura Isra (17:37) Allah says: Do not strut arrogantly about the earth, you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height.

We live in a culture which encourages self aggrandization and promotes "struting our stuff". This ayat reminds us that such arrogance in thinking and self congratulatory behaviour is not compatible with leading a spiritual life.

Scholars explain that insolence, or arrogance, or undue elation at our powers or capacities, is the first step to many evils. Pride as the old saying is, goes before a fall. Pride and arrogance keeps our focus on ourselves and prevent us from seeing the big picture and from connecting to others in service. It also gives us a very skewed perspective of our own importance and leads us to devalue others.

In order to keep our balance and perspective, we need to remind ourselves that all our gifts and talents are His Grace and they carry a responsibility of serving a bigger purpose.

The verse also reminds us that what goes on in...

Continue Reading...

Be a garment to your spouse

They are your garments. And you are their garments. Sura Baqara (2:187)

Reflection: In this verse, the Quran uses the metaphor of garments whilst talking about the relationship between the spouses.

Just as garments cover one's body, protect one from the elements, are comfortable and beautify one, the marital relationship is meant to be one of mutual support, comfort and protection.

Clothes are the closest thing to one's body. Nothing comes between a person and his or her clothes. So the analogy of spouses being 'like clothes to one another' implies such a closeness – there is nothing, literally and metaphorically, that should come between spouses.

Why: The person who knows us most intimately, with all our weaknesses and vulnerability is most often our spouse. A relationship of vulnerability and intimacy is only possible when there is emotional safety, when we know that our spouse has our back, will cover our faults and support us and not use what they know about us to hurt us....

Continue Reading...

Be inclusive

In Sura Mujadilah (58:11), it says: O ye who believe! When ye are told to make room in the assemblies (spread out and) make room: (Ample) room will Allah provide for you.

When the Holy Prophet (saw) used to conduct assemblies, his followers would throng around him in their eagerness to get close and hear better what he had to say. This meant that the weaker or more reticent of the people may have been crowded out and inconvenienced due to the enthusiasm of the others.

This simple command contains such a powerful message: that we need to be mindful of others in public spaces and provide equitable opportunities for access.
Scholars explain that the wider meaning of this verse applies to the totality of our social life and "making room for one another" implies the mutual providing of opportunities for a decent life to all - and especially to the needy or handicapped - members of the community.

It is amazing how Allah (swt) encourages us by providing us with the ultimate motivation to do...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.